Dr Anna Florin has recently joined the Australian National University as a lecturer in Archaeological Science. She brings her passion and expertise in archaeobotany, and experience in teaching and research at world-leading universities to the College of Anthropology and Social Science.
Anna’s research is focused on developing long-term perspectives on the role of plant foods, and their processing and management in world economies. “As an archaeobotanist, I study charred plant macrofossils – food scraps, from ancient fireplaces – to understand the diets of people in the past. I specialise in the analysis of root and tuber vegetables, a staple of Australian diets, and work closely with Traditional Owners to understand how different plant-processing practices can be seen archaeologically,” Dr Florin said.
Her research, focused in Australia, New Guinea and Island Southeast Asia, has implications for key topics in global archaeology. This includes the role of plant foods in early human migrations outside Africa, ongoing cultural adaptations to climate change, and new perspectives on plant and landscape management practices in “hunter-gatherer” societies.
“I am really excited by the possibilities doing archaeobotany in this region brings. Many of the old orthodoxies are really being challenged. The First Australians were using a wide range of plant foods, including those that required grinding and other complex processing techniques, tens of thousands of years prior to the origins of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent.”
Anna is also an associate investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage. Before joining ANU, Anna was a research fellow at St John’s College and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge, and a lecturer and PhD student at the University of Queensland.
Anna is looking forward to engaging with students in the Masters of Archaeological Science. She will be teaching ‘Ancient Biomolecules and Our Past’, an intensive course offered by the School of Archaeology and Anthropology in Semester 2.